➔ Austrian Airlines A320, Business Class, LHR-VIE
➔ Austrian Airlines A320, Business Class, VIE-ATH
➔ Athens: In Pictures
➔ Intercontinental Athenaeum Athens Hotel
➔ Aegean A320neo, Business Class, ATH-MUC
➔ Lufthansa Cityline CR9, Business Class, MUC-VIE
➔ Austrian Airlines A320, Business Class, VIE-LHR
My first experience of the Coronavirus outbreak changing my plans!
Initially, this trip started out with flying Swiss via Zurich to Athens. The return consisted of a flight with Aegean on their Airbus A320neo to Frankfurt, before connecting on to London with Lufthansa.
A week before departure however, I received an email from Lufthansa about a schedule change. It was anything but however:
Rather than a simple time change, this was a complete rework of the trip. The itinerary offered was entirely on Lufthansa, which wasn’t particularly desirable. I looked online for something that was more suitable, phoned their service centre and was given the itinerary I wanted without too much fuss.
The main objective for this trip was to fly on the new Aegean A320neo, so I was pleased that I was able to work this back into my plans. As an added bonus, I was able to grab a couple of flights with Austrian too. I had flown both Lufthansa and Swiss in business class previously, but only down the back with Austrian. I’d heard some good things about them up front, so was keen to see if they lived up to their reputation.
The Day Of Departure
With a 06:00 departure, this was a bit of an early start to say the least. Although knowing the Lufthansa lounge at Heathrow doesn’t open until 05:00, this was the time I aimed to get to the airport. Although I arrived a little earlier than anticipated, and ended up having to wait outside for around 10 minutes.
Whilst I have used the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at Heathrow a number of times in the past, due to my Star Alliance Gold status expiring, I’d have to stick to the Business lounge on this occasion. I’d long suspected that there wasn’t too much difference between the two.
Lufthansa Business Lounge, Heathrow
I did consider doing a separate review of this lounge. Although on this occasion, I didn’t have too long to take a look at things. Along side this, there isn’t too much to write about with this lounge anyway.
There are a selection of newspapers upon entry.
A large business centre.
A buffet featuring hot and cold dishes.
And a LOT more seats than in the Senator lounge.
I had just about enough time to grab some breakfast.
Not too long after, it was time to head to T2B to board.
London Heathrow – Vienna
Airbus A319 OE-LDC
The Star Alliance boarding system is generally less complex than what’s found on OneWorld. Basically there are two groups. Star Gold and Business class get priority, everyone else gets the regular lane. The ground staff at Heathrow generally do a good job of getting everything sorted before boarding starts too.
As I reached the gate, boarding was just about getting started. Up front on this flight were just the two regular passengers (including me), with the rest of the business class cabin made up with the crew from a previous Austrian flight. I guess the current situation is throwing crew rostering off completely.
The boarding process itself took an absolute age. So much for people not flying as much due to the current worldwide situation…
Finally, 25 minutes after boarding started, the boarding complete announcement was given.
The doors were closed a few minutes ahead of schedule. Pushback came pretty much on schedule.
As this is the first departure out of Heathrow of the day, we had an unrestricted run down to Runway 09R.
The breakfast service got underway 25 minutes after departure. There was just the one option. Bircher muesli, a small frittata and a cheese and tomato based dish.
This was accompanied with a round of drinks.
The purser was very pro-active with coming through the cabin offering refills on drinks.
This was your standard European short haul aircraft. So no personal IFE. And no drop down screens on this particular aircraft either.
WiFi was offered, and it was reasonably priced. However on this occasion I didn’t purchase it. Sometimes it’s good to switch off for a couple of hours!
Descent started 30 minutes prior to our scheduled arrival. The captain gave a very brief update, saying that we would arrive ahead of schedule and that the weather was good in Vienna.
On approach, the flight deck mentioned that there was a very good view of the city of Vienna on the right hand side of the aircraft. However, being sat on the left, I missed out on that!
Following touchdown, we were ushered over to a remote stand. There was a bit of a wait whilst the ground crew sorted themselves out.
After a few minutes it was on to a bus, passing a number of Austrian short haul aircraft that were clearly parked up for the long term.
I’m yet to have a bad flight with Austrian, and this was no exception. I’d say that their business class cabin just about lives up to its reputation. The presentation of the meal was great, and it tasted good too. Although having just the single option was a little disappointing. Having flown British Airways on this route previously, they offered at least two options. And that was in their not so great days too.
It must be said that the seating wasn’t particularly great though. The Recaro seats fitted across the board of the Lufthansa group fleet aren’t the most comfortable out there.